Ticketmaster Targets Japan with New Venture

TOKYO (04/10/2000) - Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch Inc. is teaming up with a major Japanese entertainment magazine publisher and others for a new online joint venture in Japan, the companies announced.

Walkerplus.com aims to provide a network of city guide destination Web sites and other services drawing on the experience which Ticketmaster has gained from operating similar sites in North America and the content and brand name of the Walker series of entertainment magazines published in major Japanese cities each week by Kadokawa Shoten Co. Ltd.

Although there are few comparable sites in operation at present, online ticket sales is likely to become a hotly contested business. Several recently announced online ventures started by convenience stores plan to make ticket sales a major part of their business by allowing customers to buy tickets on the Web or through in-store terminals and then print them out at terminals in the stores.

However, Ticketmaster may have a secret weapon to counter the threat from such competitors. It announced earlier this year a technology that allows users to print out tickets at home after purchasing them online so that users don't need to make a trip to the nearest convenience store. The company did not disclose whether it plans to use this technology in Japan. [See "Ticketmaster to Allow Home Printing of Tickets, Jan. 25].

In addition to Ticketmaster and Kadokawa, other partners in the new venture include major general trading company Sumitomo Corp., Internet investor Trans Cosmos USA Inc., telephone company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., electronics maker Toshiba Corp., credit card and consumer finance company JCB Co. Ltd. and Shufontano Co. Ltd.

The company will be initially capitalized at US$30 million. Part of the deal includes Ticketmaster issuing a five-year license to provide technology and business methods to the new company.

The size of each stake held by the partners was not disclosed by Ticketmaster, although a local media report quoted Kodokawa as saying it will hold a majority 66 percent stake. Ticketmaster and JCB each will hold 10 percent, Sumitomo will hold 7 percent and Trans Cosmos will hold 5 percent.

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, in Pasadena, California, can be contacted at +1-626-405-0050, or at http://www.ticketmaster.com.

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